Sunrise Helps Tori Find Strength and Focus During her Pregnancy
“I was on the run for about three-and-a-half months because my guardians who I was living with were mentally and physically abusive to me,” shared 17 year-old Tori.* Eventually, she was found by the police, but because she was truant and had traveled out of state, she was placed in jail for about two weeks.
Once she was released from jail, her social worker brought her to Sunrise’s Glen Dale Center in Elizabethtown on May 1. “I was really, really nervous, said Tori. “But everybody was so nice to me.” She was especially impressed with Glen Dale Program Director Marissa Walker. “She just lights up everything!” Tori shared. Then, while she was talking with her case manager, she received some unexpected news. “The next thing I know, Ms. Marissa and Nurse Stephanie walk into the room . . . um, they tell me I’m pregnant.”
Tori was in shock. “The blood drained out of my face,” she said. “Now I’ve got this big responsibility that I’ve got to take care of.” But she wouldn’t go on this journey alone. The Sunrise team would walk with her every step of the way. “Being here, I’ve had so much help with my pregnancy,” said Tori. “They have always put forth effort to be best for me.”
Part of that focus has been on education. She immediately responded positively to the teachers at Glen Dale. “Schooling here is fantastic!” she exclaimed. “I’ve gotten so much done. I don’t think I’d be a junior here if it wasn’t for this place.”
Beyond academics, Tori has learned valuable life lessons while living at Glen Dale. “They’ve taught me patience. And they’ve taught me how not to worry; that things will be taken care of,” explained Tori. “I’ve learned a lot from this place.”
And what she has learned, she is quick to share with others. When asked what advice she would give to the next girl who entered Glen Dale Center, she immediately had an answer: “Focus on you. This is not for you to make friends. (Sunrise) is here to help you through your problems and show you life skills, communications, and how to take care of yourself. You can do it. Just focus on you.”
Clearly, Sunrise has helped Tori focus on what matters most in life. “Being here, I’ve really gotten to focus on myself and my daughter,” she explained. And Tori is no longer running away. Instead, she is making plans for her future. “My plans are to go to a foster home,” she shares. “I want to graduate from high school.” She also plans to live in the town that she grew up in, “because they have really good schools there.” Eventually, she wants to go to college with the goal of becoming a nurse or caretaker.
Tori has found her strength and her focus at Sunrise. “This place has really helped me out a lot,” admitted Tori. “Where I was before I came here – it was scary. But I believe I’m a strong individual because I’ve been through a lot in my life; and I know that I can make it. That’s what keeps me strong. And I just say, ‘I can.’ This place has really reassured me that I’m going to be okay; I’m going to make it.”
Tori is thankful for Sunrise. And Sunrise is thankful for you – for your support and prayers that enable us to help make a difference in the life of Tori and others.
*Name changed to protect the identity of individual.
Written by David Lyninger, Sunrise Children’s Services Associate Director of Communications